Yesterday Southwest Airlines cancelled hundreds more flights which amounted to around 10% of their schedule for the day.
The AP reports, “Monday’s cancellations amounted to 10% of Southwest’s schedule, and at least 1,400 other flights, or roughly 40%, were delayed, according to the FlightAware tracking service. Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. fell 4.2%.”
Over the weekend, the company blamed severe weather and air traffic controller staffing shortages.
However they were the only airline that seems to experience massive cancellation.
And now the FAA is pushing back on Southwest’s claim about air traffic controller staffing shortages.
The agency said in a statement “"No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday. Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center.”
The airlines claims there was no walking out or protest over the vaccine mandate however the timing doesn’t appear to be coincidental.
“The widespread disruptions began shortly after the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, representing 9,000 pilots, asked a federal court on Friday to block the airline’s order that all employees get vaccinated. The union argued that Southwest must negotiate over the issue because it could involve sick leave or disability if pilots have a reaction to the vaccine.”
One stranded passenger, Ron Frank, told KHOU what a Southwest Airlines staffer told him about the delays and cancellations:
“I asked them specifically 'is this about weather' – because if it’s about weather, they can deny compensation. They said 'no, it’s not about weather.' I said 'is this about maintenance?' They said 'no, it’s not about maintenance.' I said then 'what is the problem? They said this is all because of the vaccine mandate. They said we had a massive walkout. They also said that air traffic control had a massive walkout because of the vaccine mandate. But to couch 1,000 cancelations because of a thunderstorm somewhere is not believable.”
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